Sunday, January 30

Blast from the past

Sunday already...at least it's a sunny day:) I have a burning desire to "organize" our basement storage room. I'm trying to figure out how I can eliminate a trip UP stairs, in order to go DOWN stairs. And then try to sit and decide what to keep and what to pack away, like out of the way. Maybe my nesting instincts are setting in, but I have anxiety about making room for baby stuff. Our house can certainly hold 2 more people, not necessarily more stuff! We've managed to use/occupy all of the closets, storage areas in our home. It's just a kick in the pants that I had all these plans for things to do before the babies were born, that now I have to strategically plan or decide how I can get anything accomplished without pushing me into labor before we're ready.

Last night my family made their way down to Milwaukee to celebrate my birthday.  Usually the birthday person picks a restaurant of their choice and the rest of the family travels to the venue for a night of good food and spirits;) Well, since I received the red light on going out last weekend, Craig and I decided that it would be best to stay in another week until I see the doctor again, hence risking any reason for them to deny my attendance at my sister's wedding. So we ordered Maggiano's italian pasta party pan and baked homemade chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. But the night would not be complete if it wasn't for the original NINTENDO experience. Thanks to Craig (and his friend Bob, who when visiting challenges Craig to RBI Baseball) he was able to fire up Super Mario Bros. with a little coaxing from the ancient machine. Who knew it would take us 2 hours to finally remember all the tricks, when to warp, and conquering the maze in the last world to defeat King Kuppa! There was lots of laughs and reminiscing. Good times and a nice relaxing night in our home.

Have a good start to another week everyone! February is right around the corner, which is good for people who can't wait for winter to be over, but crazy for people you can't believe how fast the days have been going by!!

Friday, January 28

TGIF

Yes, I am equally happy as you that it is Friday! This only means that now I get 2 days of  Craig's undivided attention (yeah, right--has anyone met a man with that quality?). I do like to be alone; I don't like unnecessary small talk that fills awkward silence. But when you spend all day only talking--sometimes scolding--the dog, I long for another human interaction...where it's okay if we don't say anything to each other, but if something comes up he's there to hear my thoughts.

I received a fun surprise in the mail today--a super fantastic box of goodies and original artwork from my in-laws, niece and nephew! The works of art went immediately on the fridge for display and the treats in my belly for chocolate satisfaction:) Thanks so much guys.

And now I bet you are all wondering what the last gift Craig got that came in the mail as I was finishing my last post...oh, you forgot, well I'm going to tell you anyway! It's a twins pendant. And I can't wait for an occasion to wear it!

Wednesday, January 26

"Now you're old"--birthday wish from my brother;)

I received so many beautiful cards and kind words yesterday on my birthday! Lots of people asked how my birthday was or hoped I had a good day; but really it was just another day. How could it be much else? Except that my phone was busy with texts, calls, and emails from friends and family.

Craig got me some interesting gifts-as every year! He started this tradition a couple years back. One gift is an "as seen on T.V.", one is practical, one is fun/funny, and one is a nice gift. So I look forward to seeing what he has come up with each year. I got a puppy 'pillow pet'--a zip up hoodie--the board game TROUBLE--and the "nice" gift came in the mail today, so I'm waiting for him to get home to give it to me!!

I am one week away from my next appt where I not only get to see how my cervix is, but the more important issue of being allowed to attend my sister's wedding on the 12th. Before the cerclage, before my cervix was REALLY short, when I was just on bed rest, the doc had said he would give me a day pass to attend the wedding and there shouldn't be any problems. Now I am completely at their mercy for their decision--of course I feel good and want to be there, but I can't even speculate what the answer will be.

My new life until the babies are born might have to be t.v. program/movie reviewer. There is really, really bad shows out there and some okay movies. T.V. is pretty terrible from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. Most quality programing is on after 3. What's with 'Glee' being a repeat for the last month? And now with 'American Idol' starting, some of my weekly shows are bumped. There are shows on later at night and I suggest to DVR or TiVo them; Tosh.0, Onion Sportsdome, Conan. I really like the movie "The A-Team". I don't know what kind of reviews it received, but I enjoyed it--I watched it alot when I was younger. "The Town" was good. I don't necessarily care for vampire movies but I have watched 3 of the Twilight Saga movies. The story lines are well-written and you have to get over the fact that it is about fictional vampires and wolves. I did not like "The Social Network".  We recently watched "Toy Story 3" and I still liked the first one the best.




This is my pillow pet gift! 



Beautiful birthday flowers from my sweet cousins:)

Monday, January 24

30

Ah, another Monday. I thought Mondays would be easier since I don't have to get up and go to work, starting yet another long week. But now they mean I'm starting another long week at home, waiting for the weekend when Craig is around to keep me company:)

Speaking of work, at my last OB appt, I asked about the possibility of "working from home" on the computer. I would be helping with a huge software/program conversion that is on the horizon. While it's definitely not the type of work I *like* to do, it is something that will require my attention and can be done from the couch/bed/recliner. So I am excited to be able to save some of my time-off for after the babies are born, instead of using it all now.

30 years ago tomorrow I was born...on Superbowl XV (15)--Oakland Raiders vs. Philadelphia Eagles. Maybe that's why I enjoy football so much or that I was a tomboy most of my life. But what irritates me is that the NFL added an extra week to the schedule and now my birthday will never again fall on the Superbowl. Craig asked what I wanted to do tomorrow.....uhhhhhh, really...how about we stay at home? I'll even lay on the couch, as usual;) I know he was just wondering if I had anything planned/in mind but what does one ask for on their birthday when confined to bed rest?

Saturday, January 22

Another week closer

Yesterday was unbearably boring. It's the first time since being put on bed rest where I just couldn't find anything to keep me occupied or entertained. I couldn't find the motivation to read or write or shower or even nap! Waiting for Craig to come home from the gym after work was almost torture. I've got such an itch to "clean" or "tidy" the babies' room; and it kills me to have to ask Craig to add one more thing to his to-do list of stuff that NEEDS to be done, that I CAN'T do, before the twins get here.

My mom and sister visited Thursday and maybe because I had so much daytime stimulation, that I'm not used to, caused Friday to be such a downer. It's fun when everyone has to crawl in bed with me to eat lunch because I can only travel up and down the stairs a limited amount in one day. So that means I have to plan my days out so that I get everything done that requires me to be upstairs: shower, getting dressed/ready, bedroom things. Then when I do come downstairs to the living room, there is no reason to go back up until we go to bed. I know it sounds trivial or silly that I put so much thought into it, but I am very absent-minded and often forget where I put things or misplace them. It's little things like floss or nail file that if you were just sitting on the couch and needed, you would just run upstairs and get. Well, I can't and I usually need those things when I'm by myself and I like to be as self-sufficient as possible.

It sounds funny but I skipped my 10 min of freedom of showering Thursday so I that I could be a little more active with my family being here. Which means I wanted to be able to get up more than I'm supposed to and be a little helpful while they did some "housework" for me; take Christmas decorations down, clean up the babies' room. So by skipping that 10 min of standing, of gravity working against me, I was able to "assist" mom and Tara by sitting on the floor or on the couch and placing things in the storage bins. Apparently I am ALWAYS supposed to have my feet up.  It's okay...I know a good ulcer debridement surgeon:)

Today we are having more visitors! Tonight was supposed to be a nice, quiet, relaxed dinner with friends for my birthday. But I was half-way through inviting people when I was originally put on bed rest; so I stopped, thinking well, if things change I'll invite everyone else. We just had lunch with our friends and their twins, which is always a treat:) And tonight more good friends brining dinner and maybe a movie.  It's more than I expect or could ask for. You start to feel like a burden; because I'm not sick or hurt but been given this "sentence" of imprisonment.

Currently I am watching Craig, hard at work putting together the babies' dresser. Last night, he was able to get both cribs put together; no swearing with either project! He's made quick work of it and now their room feels more complete, like it's ready for babies!! You may have to put almost everything together yourself when you buy from IKEA but it is really sturdy, strong furniture. Now we just have to figure out what/how we are going to decorate the room. It was painted yellow in the last couple years so there is no plans on repainting, especially since that is not top on Craig's list of fun things to do:) But we are thinking owls...maybe (wink, wink to my family;))

Thursday, January 20

Good News

We had our follow up appt yesterday and of course the last couple appts have only brought us bad news, so we were cautiously optimistic. First it was the ultrasound of the babies; growth checks to make sure their measurements coincide with how many weeks along I am. All good there-both measured 24 wks (which I am this week).  Then came the cervix length...15mm! I had gained a whole 3mm from last week, due to the cerclage placement. And the funneling was almost non-existent. The doctor was happy; we were happy to finally hear good news. We attempted to get some "out-of-the-house-privileges" to celebrate my birthday this weekend but those plans fell flat.  She said to wait; I was only 1 week out from my procedure and really I was just looking for any inch of freedom!

On the up and up, I feel good! I'm not too bored, believe it or not. I can fold laundry from the couch and that's pretty much it for chores:) I get up around 7 and go downstairs, make breakfast, pack a lunch and head back upstairs to bed.  And if Marty can hold out, we stay in bed till about 3. Somewhere in that time I shower. Around 3, I pack up my things (bag filled with laptop, notebook, pens, magazines, lotion, snacks, cell phone, etc) and head down to the couch. That's where I stay until it's time for bed...again!

Craig was able to make his way down to IKEA Monday to buy the babies bedroom furniture.  Good thing for MLK jr. Day so that Craig didn't have to battle any crowds by having to go on the weekend. Now he has a little *more* to keep him busy:) His week has been a little more trying than usual, but hopefully he will recharge this weekend. And actually he ENJOYS putting things together, so he probably wouldn't even let me help with the cribs if I could!


These are my 'fur' babies.  They keep me company all day-as you can see, they are real tired:) This is us from 7a.m.-3p.m.!




And this is my world from 3-ish til we go to bed! (Marty is at the end of the couch by my feet, Wriggs of course has to lay on top or in between my legs, rendering me immoveable.)                    

                            

Wednesday, January 19

Oooo...my very own cerclage!

We returned for a follow-up ultrasound and appt with the doctor one week later.  I was so optimistic that I had beaten the odds and my cervix decided to go back to "normal"...as if it was just playing a joke, to see if it could spook us!  First we looked at the babies--good as always.  Then on to the cervix and it is not looking cool.  I can see the measurements on the screen, I can read.  But the tech did it fast and measured twice.  I clearly saw 12mm.  12!! Really?!? Now my cervix is shorter? I suppose it's a clue when the ultrasound tech quickly finishes and says, "Did you come up here with a wheelchair?" there are no more questions--this is serious.

They show us to the exam room and we wait for the doctor.  I know it's not good and I tell Craig right away, "Did you see the measurement?  It's shorter...good grief."  The doctor comes in and we're prepared for the news but not for the treatment.  He says it's best to head down the the 2nd floor and be admitted to the labor and delivery unit.  He was going to consult the specialist we had seen at 19 weeks, but he's pretty confident I would need a cerclage.  Pretty much after that, all I heard was yadda, yadda, yadda, hospital bed rest, yadda, yadda, yadda, (try to hold the tears back), yadda, yadda, yadda...I just wanted to run out of there, get things going, get to the procedure so I could get BETTER.

A cerclage is a thick suture/stick that is tied around the cervix to prevent it from dilating, opening, funneling...whatever crazy tricks it's up to.  My cervix had only dilated a finger tip; the real issue was the funneling.  Think of the uterus like a blown up balloon; if you keep you fingers around it up high the opening is long, closed, and keeps the air in.  My cervix was funneling as if you were moving your fingers closer and closer to the end, letting the opening get shorter and shorter.  So what's happening is baby A's sac is moving around and getting closer to my cervix opening. This usually happens earlier in pregnancy, around 14-15 weeks, so I was coded as a "rescue cerclage" to prevent early delivery. And there is nothing I did to cause it; mostly I was born with a weak cervix and there is no way of knowing until you get pregnant.  For any men reading, a cervix is a small, narrow structure that connects the uterus to the vagina--babies come out of it and sperm goes through it.

The cerclage procedure (on Wednesday, I was admitted on Tuesday) was going to help push baby A's sac back up into my uterus and keep my cervix closed.  For my surgical friends reading this, the suture was a #2 nylon! Instead of an epidural I had a spinal, which is identical to an epidural except it is a one-time injection; no catheter left in place. So I was awake for the whole procedure. There aren't a lot of drugs that can be given to a pregnant lady that won't affect the baby.  Which actually, being a surgical nurse, I preferred to know EXACTLY what was going on through the entire procedure!! The O.R. staff kept me busy, asking what surgeries I liked doing, which docs I liked working with, but don't be fooled...I have "surgery ears".  I could hear even the quiet mumblings from the doctors hanging out at the foot of the bed.  I knew he was going to keep me overnight and that he put 2 cerclages, or suture, on my cervix, before he told me:)


Not being able to move your legs or the feeling that your legs are floating was the worst part of the whole thing!  Forget that I was bleeding and crampy, I couldn't move to adjust the wrinkles under my bottom and thought I was going to lose it!!  It took a couple hours to get the feeling back in my legs, but it took longer to be able to feel like I could pee.  


Craig and I slept like dead fish that night; sure it was a long day, but we didn't get any sleep the first night we were there. I was feeling better, recovering well, that it was all I could do to not pack my things and get dressed before the doctor came to see me!;) Finally, a little after 1 the doc came in and said she heard I was ready to leave them--well, I didn't see any reason to stay here and lay in an uncomfortable bed when I could be in my OWN bed!  


So that's it...I came home from the hospital last Thursday, and today I have my follow up appointment. We had some visitors over the weekend for the football games and I look forward to getting out of the house!

Tuesday, January 18

Finally pregnant...now what?

By the time my blood test came back positive for the pregnancy hormone, I was already 4 weeks along.  It's weird how they calculate it; don't try to understand it. It's just how they've always done it and it's consistent. So I had 2 more blood tests to make sure my hormones were increasing; because in IVF world it is possible to get a positive only to have it become a negative.  This means that the embryo(s) probably started to grow but a chromosomal abnormality or hostile uterine environment stopped it.  My numbers were moving up strongly, but it didn't occur to me it could be twins.  Only one person mentioned that my last hormone blood test that was over 1,000 could indicate more than one baby.  I thought he was crazy.

We had a follow up appointment with the fertility doctor at 7 weeks.  This is a good-bye meeting because after this point they want you to be seen by your regular doc; IVF doctors do not deliver babies.  So the object of this appointment is to check on the baby, answer any questions, and make sure we feel comfortable.  He started the ultrasound and said, (this is Craig's favorite story, so maybe you've heard it) "Here's a baby sac and a baby. (Silence as he moves the ultrasound around.) "Here's another baby sac and another baby.  Should I keep going?"  What?! I knew I was pregnant but the idea of twins was whole other thing.  I guess we were so consumed with happiness that it finally worked, we never entertained the idea of more than one baby.  The doctor showed us the *tiny* heartbeats and said they both looked strong and there was no reason to believe they wouldn't keep growing.

We left that appointment stunned.  A whole new boat of emotions overcame us.  We have friends with twins; we know it's doable; and it's not like the doctor just told me I was going to be the next "octomom." So we decided our glass is half full.  IVF didn't work the past 3 times and now we are getting 2 for the price of 1.  But I was still skeptical;  I really wanted to wait to tell people our good news until was out of the dreaded 1st trimester miscarriage zone.  It's hard not to wonder why the other 8 embryos we transferred never took, and all of a sudden, at a new place, we put 2 in and get 2 back? I needed some assurance that these babies were going to make it before I became too emotionally involved.  Craig, on the other hand, was just beside himself with joy and pride, that he pretty much told anyone he ran into!

Our 8, 12, and 16 week appointments all went well.  Their heartbeats were strong.  We knew they had their own sacs to grow in; their own placentas to receive nutrition.  Since IVF is extremely planned, down to knowing the exact cell growth of the embryos, we had originally planned to wait on knowing the sex of the baby--that is, if we were going to have a singleton.  With twins, it was all we could talk about! We wanted to know as soon as possible what each one was.

The 19th week we had an appointment with a maternal-fetal specialist (perinatologist), mostly for peace of mind that there wasn't a major defect and of course I knew they would be able to tell us the sex. It was a long anatomy scan of the first baby, the lower one. So we found out it was a girl and then had to wait another 45 min. as they finished her ultrasound before they moved on to the second baby. The big question for us was always if we were going to get 2 of the same or 1 of each.  Now that we knew we had a girl, there was suspense for the next baby.  Once they told us it was a boy, we both immediately started chatting it up! The long awaited unknown was over. We were excited to tell everybody.

The specialist recommendation was to have my cervix checked every 2 weeks and growth ultrasounds once a month for the boy since he was an ounce smaller.  Week 22.5 I went in for these ultrasounds and the cervix picture didn't look quite right to me.  But what I was really concerned about was if the baby boy was growing, it didn't even occur to me that my cervix was going to cause trouble.  Normal cervix length is 25mm or longer. At the specialist's office, I was 33mm.  Today I was 18mm. Not much fun to leave the doctor's office and have to go on immediate bed rest until next week's appointment.

So there I was, cruising through my pregnancy; feeling great.  I didn't get sick, I was getting to the gym a couple days a week.  Most days I didn't have any trouble making it through 8-10 hrs. of work and coming home to prepare dinner. Who was I to think I could have a normal pregnancy because the conception was so abnormal?

I'll save the saga of how my cervix issues go from not good to worse for tomorrow; there's just too much good stuff to put with today's post;) And I'll recap how I've been spending my long days of bed rest! Oh, and how my Craig's doing!

Sunday, January 16

The begining

I figured I would focus the topic of this post to how we came to be pregnant...with twins.  It's not as romantic or mushy as you might think, so keep reading.

It all began November of 2008.  We were starting to wonder after almost a year of trying, why "nothing" was happening.  We each went to see our respective "reproductive" doctors for a once over and after blood tests, ultrasounds, and biopsies, it was determined that Craig's brain was telling the hormones to make more swimmers but there was only one guy in factory and he couldn't keep up.  Our only option of having our own children was artificial reproductive therapy, deeming us infertile.

We made an appointment with a fertility specialist as soon as we could get in.  Actually it will be 2 years tomorrow.  It was decided that Craig's testicular tissue and my eggs would be harvested on the same day and the doctor would "help" them to get together.  After a couple days of the lab watching our embryos grow, they would transfer them back inside me.  Then follows 11 days of waiting to find out if they were strong enough to take hold in my uterus.

Of course getting to point of having embryos to transfer did not come without great physical and emotional demands.  I was started on shots 30 days before harvest day.  Then 10 days before I would start a second shot, along with every other day ultra sounds monitoring my ovaries so that they didn't burst from the medications I was taking.  On harvest day, Craig and I both went "under the knife", with Craig being laid up for almost 2 weeks. After the embryos were transfered, I would take a couple days of rest to help them make a home.

Well, we did this procedure in March 2009.  But when the news came that it didn't work and we weren't pregnant, we were devastated.  I'm not sure why we were so optimistic it would work the first time; maybe that's what helped us get through it all. After dealing with the grief, we decided to wait to try again till the next year.

January 2010 arrives and we are ready to try again.  Our spirits are up and we are certain again it will work.  First we try 2 frozen embryos from last year's cycle.  It's a no go.  So we re-group and feel that maybe we just need fresh embryos.  I start going through the shots/injections routine and about week into it, our fertility doctor passes away unexpectedly. Should this have been a sign to stop, run, don't turn back? But we continued, confident that the doctor stepping in would have our previous cycle history and have all the answers he needs.

Again it is a negative pregnancy test. Our next thoughts are that this might not be our thing.  I started researching other clinics in the area, going to websites like www.sart.com, which publish success rates of almost every clinic in the US. After talking to other women having problems conceiving, online, I found that the simple act of switching doctors, clinics could be our answer.

I discovered Advanced Fertility Centers of Chicago in Gurnee, IL.  It was going to be more dedication, having to drive much further to keep up with blood tests, ultrasounds, and procedures.  But their success rates  were untouchable by other clinics close to home.  Their process was virtually the same as the other attempts, with the additions of other medications.

The rest as they say is history!  I don't know if it was the new environment, different lab, different doctor, or fate was finally on our side, but I still have the positive pregnancy test to prove our perseverance paid off!  Now how we got 2 is more simple--we transferred 2 embryos, which is standard and the most Midwest clinics will transfer at one time, and they both were strong enough to grow.

Saturday, January 15

Day 1 of blog, Day 10 of bed rest

So I considered starting a blog when we first found out we were expecting twins.  Mostly because our families are friends are scattered around the state or states (what up Brian & Alyssa, Andy).  But then I thought, what would I say? Would people even want to read it?  Now that this pregnancy has become a little messy, and by the sheer volume of texts I've received in the last 10 days, I find this might be an easier way to get to everyone and not forget anyone!

Well, you might wonder how I am.  Just dandy.  It's hard to be confined to a laying or semi-sitting position without having an actual problem/injury/debilitating disease preventing me from getting up.  It's easy to think of all the things I "could" do since I'm home.  And it's hard to watch Craig buzzing around the house; I know he enjoys relaxing just as much as the other guy.  He's been awesome, my Mr. Wife.

Otherwise our dog Marty truly enjoys all this lying around business.  He keeps the bed warm after Craig leaves for work and doesn't usually bother me to go outside until the afternoon, which is when I finally leave the bedroom and make my first appearance on the main floor.

There is a ton more I could say, but it would be too overwhelming. I will save it for the next couple days and explain how I found myself on bed rest.